April 30, 2015

To Ignore or Answer?

Usually when I log into the blog here, I get a red alert on the dashboard that says for instance- 30 comments awaiting moderation. I have seen this alert a hundred times but one day, it read differently for some reason. There were comments, yes...they were 30 of them, ok but the key word was they were "waiting".

A light bulb turned on.

I could get to them when I wanted to!

Matter of fact, I could delete them, I could read them, I could ignore them, I could reply them, I could do what I wanted with them. I had the choice.

Mentally I pictured the scene from coming to America where King Jafi joffer said "Let them wait!, I'm talking to my son!" yup, I could even do that too!

I could choose what I let into my world and when.

Whether in our real or virtual worlds, we can choose the comments, opinions, behaviours and people we allow in.

Sometimes we forget we have that choice, but it's really up to us to identify what we need to ignore and when we do, find the "how" to ignore it.

April 24, 2015

Relationship faux pas: Who to tell what?

So confiding in someone during a crisis is sometimes considered a healthy way of letting out steam, gaining perspective or even finding solutions to a problem but across the plethora of relationships who do you tell what? Especially when lips pried open by crisis screw shut when secrets spilled are used against it or comments made by the confidante while sympathizing with one side get to the other party and you suddenly go from sympathizer to outsider- you know too much and now that the heat is off, you will reap cold shoulders, withdrawn statements and curtly discontinued updates!

 A spat with a family member?

I'd say tell another family member. A general rule of thumb is to tell the person who can talk to the family member you are in disagreement with. Someone this family member can listen to will also likely be someone who will keeps things said in perspective and de-escalate comments said in anger or made in exaggeration knowing the personalities of the people involved. I'd say tell another family member over telling a spouse or a friend- you might feel responsible if your spouse can't get over what that family member did to you long after you have.

A spat with a friend?

Hmmm. I'd say don't spread the poison to the other friends, keep it closed and don't expect/even discourage mutual friends from taking up your fight and acting funny towards the offender. Keep the he said she said to a minimum by having the refereeing friend and both of you in one room while resolving issues.

A spat with your partner?

Tricky. In general circles keeping it between yourself and your spouse is the rule of thumb. This is an opportunity to exercise the motto that there is nothing that you cant resolve between you and if problems are always resolved for you, you loose the opportunity to learn to tide over your issues together. The problem here is usually in not waiting for the ripe time to address heated issues.

I've noticed that at the right time and with the right approach you can get your spouse to understand how they hurt you and tell them how you felt about your experience of the disagreement between you two. You know better how to persuade and negotiate and what to leverage to upturn an argument than the referee who might miss the nuances in your relationship and attribute their experiences to yours.

I think generally and 99.9% of the time this should work but when it gets to that matter that is the 0.1% , go get that referee!

A spat between your spouse and their sibling?

Stay out of it. hahahahaha! Ok this is a borrowed opinion from someone who maintains that when rifts are mended, your comments might come back to haunt you. But here you probably want to provide your spouse understanding and help him/her keep the peace and unity of his/her family in view while taking a decision but for the most part, keep away from saying negative things about the offending family member and keep to suggestions- let the spouse decide how he/she prefers to handle his/her family.

A spat with a colleague?

If its a subordinate, try to resolve it. If it gets beyond what you can handle, channel it to human resources. I find that in the work place, following official channels of conflict resolution are more effective at passing the message to the offending party that they are in a corporate environment and have to play by the rules.

A direct effort at letting the offender know what you are unhappy about, followed by a report to a line manager and after that a notice to human resources is the recommended approach. Otherwise it will fester, others will copy the bad behaviour or the subject becomes fodder for office gossip and escalates into a mountain.

On a final note, keep all personal things personal and out of the work place, it will give you a sense of self respect when a colleague isn't using a personal matter to insult you at work.

So before you open your lips to vent, think first- who should I tell this?

April 17, 2015

The 20s or 30s bride

I got married on the stroke of 30 and it wasn't planned. Growing up I thought I would be married at 23 for what reason I can't remember, then I moved the expiry date of my self -inflicted singleness to my 27th year because of something some girl I don't remember said  that made 27 sound a cool age to get married. Although I put these ages down as expected times of arrival in the land of marital bliss, when I got to each milestone I didn't want to get married.

It had become less about when and more about when I felt ready. Then it became less about when I felt ready to who I would marry because I had adopted the commonly slung around ideology that when you meet the right person he will make you feel ready to take that step with him.

Let me back track a bit to age 17 when I looked around at the dating scene which was rife with girls of secondary school age professing to be kept women and girls playing house with university students for whom it was convenient, and I decided that it wasn't for me. I remember agreeing with myself that I wanted to get to know who I was for myself first before some guy defined me and maybe put a label on me that had nothing to do with me except to serve himself or justify his perception. I didn't want to be labelled a second opinion of myself without first getting to form my own opinion of myself, by myself.

 And "by myself" meant exactly that so I didn't get into boys early and by the time I paired up it was at the over ripe age of 24! I hadn't planned on waiting that long and I blame it on encountering the small issue of being cast in the mold of "she can't be single, sure she has a boyfriend'  for my looks and the even more sobering perception formed by one male friend - "you look like you have it all sorted, like you don't need a man" for my confidence. By the time I was ready, the guys around me had found other interests having made failed attempts, the interested ones didn't get it up to ask while some others who did, I found unsuitable.

Plus I was picky and picky girls, quick brides do not make. Thus I missed 23 and 27 non challantly but as 30 beckoned I certainly started laying wishes on shooting stars and birthday cake candles to be married at 30 and again not for any of the conventional reasons like biological clocks or passing time. It just felt like a tidy age to end one chapter and head into the next. It was also the age I fully accepted my maturity and felt more adult than child. Finally the confidence that I had been waiting for to handle marriage  arrived like breasts programmed to manifest at puberty.

I now had an answer to all the "what ifs" that used to plagued a younger me -I was woman enough. Woman enough to handle in-laws, take care of a home, and navigate the dynamics of that much yoked a relationship. I had put faith in the fact that I could form any word the future would demand with the meagre 26 alphabets I had learned. And with words I could form sentences.

My filter for who to date or consider marriage material had also metamorphosed. I came to admit that although I often boasted about how I could instinctively tell the intentions of every male who came my way by some feminine super power which allowed me to see their soul, I realised that this was a presumptuously vain way of telling people apart and I needed to give people more of a chance. I admitted that my filter (the glasses with which I was seeing the world of males) could be faulty. For instance good was good, good didn't have to be saintly and nice was nice, nice didn't have to be subservient.

Maybe all these internal changes had something to do with it or did not but soon I was heading to the altar and by the time I arrived at my wedding day just months after celebrating the big three- o, it wasn't the giddy, starry-eyed 23 or 27 year old me with great expectations (another term for unrealistic expectations) that showed up.

All my disillusionment from my 20s about prince charming and knights in shiny armour had cleared. I knew what I was getting myself into and yes in that sense in which people use the phrase- I knew it wasn't an easy thing to be had- this happily married life.

I wasn't looking across at my groom with love blinded eyes neither did I have left any of those soul mate ideologies upon which people make statements like "we were meant to be". My eyes had been opened to the fact that we were both imperfect people capable of both hurting and loving each other and meaning to be would be a more helpful philosophy to get us through our journey than believing we would for the flimsy reason that we were meant to.

I couldn't be 20 about it knowing what 30 had taught me. Because of things like this and knowing there would be days like this. So I am happy with the way it turned out- I was a 30s bride. It was not too early or too late, it was just right- when I was ready!

April 13, 2015

Holding on to memory

Our minds remember so well, it's too much for our own good. We often use the phrase- "if my memory serves me well" to refer to something we recall but in some cases our memory does not serve us well at all but leads us to some of the darkest, scariest, painful, rodent, vermin and cobweb infested places in our minds that we would be better off not revisiting.

There was this movie I watched and didn't find useful in all the ways movies can be- the plot was confusing and the moral of the story was lost on me, but there was one line in the movie I intentionally committed to memory and made a mental note- to- self to recall.

-First violated by the act then violated by the memory over and over again-

It stuck because it stung!

How often do we allow ourselves to re-experience the pain we felt when something scary or bad happened to us, by remembering it and re-living in it?

How often do we allow ourselves to be violated by our memories long after the actual events have passed?
Memories of an injustice real or perceived filter through our thoughts without invitation and suddenly we are twisted in knots over something someone had said or done in a distant or not so distant past.

Tragedies re-enact themselves in bad dreams and bad memories and even our bodies remember and imitate symptoms of previous illness in the midst of recovery and shaken by the memory, the sick person is attacked by the fear of a relapse.

These memories can become a foot hold for the enemy to hold us in bondage to fear, unforgiveness, anger, bitterness and progressively captive to sin - they most definitely do not serve us well.

I am learning each and every time fear invades my mind with a negative suggestion, to cast it down. Learning to catch myself each time I remember what this or that person did or said to me so I don't dwell on those sad memories. At any point in the movie of our memories, we can press the stop button and ask for God's help to let the anger/resentment/fear/worry go.

This is important because what we focus on will grow. If we stop rehashing those moments of pain and stop replaying our hurt, they will loose their hold on our memory and as we take it to God in prayer each and every time, our anger and pain over
the situation will loose its hold on us and we will be truly free from both the act and our memory of it.

Read Part 2- letting go of memory here- http://omonaikee.blogspot.com.ng/2015/04/letting-go-of-memory.html

April 07, 2015

Letting go of memory

Recently I was unconsciously replaying hard times I experienced in the hands of someone I used to work with when it occurred to me that I had summed up that period in my life into one huge lump of miserable memories when in actual fact very good memories defined that year, I had just put a negative tag on it all.

Being in that situation had afforded me some good opportunities including an incremental pay increase (thanks to this person by the way) that helped me fulfil some dreams I still gain a lot of pride from. Not to talk of the fact that getting that job had been a huge testimony to me in the beginning and although I was this person's target, God didn't let me stay one extra day in an ugly situation when it was the right time to move on. He had ripened another opportunity that had been hot and cold for over a year and suddenly when I desperately needed a way of escape they came calling with double their offer and a position higher than they had offered before.  But in memory I was focusing on the test, not on the testimony!

More often than we realise, our memories rather than serve us well, serve us reminders of things we should forget. Fears... hurts...dark times. And we get violated not just by the events but over and over again, long after events have taken place, we are still being violated by our memories of them.

Each and every time we remember and get transported to that old place of anger, resentment, terror or fear, we need to break the cycle and take it to the Lord in prayer.

"Lord this still hurts, please heal my heart about this situation and help me to let go"

"Lord this fear still persists, please help me overcome and deliver me from all my fears"

He wont change the facts, but he would change our view and help us see things as He sees it.

He'll change our perspective.

When King David lost his son, his servants were so scared to tell him because while the boy was sick, David was inconsolable and now that he was dead they feared David would not be able to take it. But to their surprise when he heard the news, he rose up from his grief and had a bath and a bite. The secret to his ability to move on was obvious when his servants asked him why he had grieved for his son when he was sick yet moved on so quickly when he died. He had gained perspective- a way to see the same set of facts to be able to accept them and move forward.

He would see his son again. His son couldn't come to him but he would go to his son one day in heaven. This perspective gave David enough comfort to continue life as before.

Not too long ago I was reminded of a series of hurtful events and I noted to myself that it would probably top the list of things I'll always feel pain about whenever I thought of it, and out of nowhere I heard an inner voice disagree- "It most likely wouldn't", it said.

I was taken aback. My spirit just didn't agree.

"You'll get over the desire to prove you were right, the desire to see your anger justified, the self inflicted pain that makes you think everything was intentionally done just to hurt you"

It continued.

You'll make room for the possibility that some things were done out of ignorance, immaturity and selfishness and not necessarily with an intention to cause you pain; you'll make room for the reality that worse things happen and people have lost more;you'll see it as a simple part of life you just have to deal with and you'll see you have a choice to deal with it dispassionately too; like one of those things!"

How freeing! It was a truth that set me free because it gave me hope that if not today, there would come a day when I would look at the same set of facts and discard them as flimsy with a well practiced "it's one of this things" and I wouldn't give it one more second of thought.

More than that, it made me realise that although my reality seemed true- it was that hurtful I didn't think I would get over it, ultimately the truth was that I would and that redeeming thought helped me make it my intention rather than my hope. 

Always and every time you remember? Take it to the Lord in prayer. He will cause your thoughts to come into agreement with His will and perspective over that situation and His truth (his perspective on things) will set you free.

Read Part 1- Letting go of memory here: http://www.omonaikee.blogspot.ae/2015/04/letting-go-of-memory.html

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